Unilever has signed an agreement with the Alibaba-backed Lazada Group to “build the e-commerce industry’s first end-to-end alliance”, a move the Knorr maker said would “generate rapid growth for both businesses” across south-east Asia.

The deal outlines how the two will collaborate in areas such as “category development, supply chain and fulfilment, data and marketing, social commerce and talent development”.

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Unilever did not respond to just-food’s requests for comment about what the agreement might mean for its portfolio of food brands.

However, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, the president of Unilever’s operations in south-east Asia and Australasia, said: “E-commerce is the fastest growing channel in south-east Asia making it vital for us to find innovative ways to address the needs of our consumers, allowing them to shop when and where they want. We believe this pioneering partnership will set new standards in customer experience, supply chain and digital marketing, helping our brands reach more consumers across south-east Asia.”